Sex-specific retinal pigmentation results in sexually dimorphic long-wavelength-sensitive photoreceptors in the eastern pale clouded yellow butterfly, Colias erate

Yuri Ogawa, Michiyo Kinoshita, Doekele G. Stavenga, Kentaro Arikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The compound eyes of the eastern pale clouded yellow butterfly, Colias erate, contain three types of ommatidia (I, II and III), identifiable by the differing arrangements of pigment clusters around the rhabdoms. The pigment color is red in all ommatidial types except for type II ommatidia of females, where the pigment is orange. Intracellular recordings demonstrated that the spectral sensitivities of the proximal photoreceptors (R5-8) of all ommatidia in both sexes are strongly tuned by the perirhabdomal pigments. These pigments act as long-pass filters, shifting the peak sensitivities into the wavelength range above 600 nm. Due to the sex-specific pigments in type II ommatidia, the spectral sensitivities of the R5-8 photoreceptors of females peaked at 620 nm while those in males peaked at 660 nm. The measured spectral sensitivities could be well reproduced by an optical model assuming a long-wavelength-absorbing visual pigment with peak absorbance at 565 nm. Whereas the sexual dimorphism was unequivocally demonstrated for the ventral eye region, dimorphism in the dorsal region was not found. Presumably the ventral region is adapted for sexual behaviors such as courtship and oviposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1916-1923
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume216
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Color vision
  • Insect
  • Ommatidium
  • Opsin
  • Spectral sensitivity
  • Visual pigment

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